Off late my Saturdays often involve 3-4km of running early in the morning, followed by an hour-long dance class at noon. So the invitation to try out Sukho Thai's 'Mango Scrub Foot Therapy' sounded delicious.
The Walkeshwar branch is small, but the soft cloth slippers offered are big (for me), my feet usually fit into an Indian size of five or six. Directed to the changing room, I temporarily trade my well-fitted jeans for their loose and comfy pallazo pants that you can tie from front. A quick climb took me to the massage area–dimly lit, calm and silent except for the sound of practiced hands chopping at someones back. This space isn't too roomy either, but wooden barricades on the sides and open front gives you a sense of seclusion and privacy without causing claustrophobia.
I welcome the feel of the well cushioned chair and its reclining option even more as my masseuse readies to pamper me. A major portion of the 60-minute massage is spent on the knees and below. She first cleans each leg with with water and dries them with a towel. And when the scrub is applied you will know; it smells distinctly of mango, but not in an overwhelming manner, instead like a light tease that compels you take a deeper breath in. If you like mango at all, your mouth will water. Whether its scrub, cream or balm—the three things during the therapy—she applies it in circling motions considered good for blood circulation. Although Sukho Thai uses oil in Thailand and some other countries, the branches here don't. Their officials tell me that it's because Indian skin is already oily and doesn't need more oil, it needs to be moisturised, something that cream does. And the mango in their scrub is not included for the exotic appeal alone, they explain that unlike apricot scrub, which is better used in winter when the skin is harder, mango is much more beneficial in summer. It has a soothing effect. Besides removing dead skin, scrubbing your feel also relieves your body off toxins.
My lower thighs get her attention next; she not only does massages them, but also makes them stretch by pushing my legs to one side and using the pressure of her arms (elbow down) to ensure they stay put. To my surprise and delight, the foot therapy doesn't end with the feet (or legs)–towards the end she also massages my neck, skull, back and stretches my back, arms, neck. It reminds me of malish given to new born babies to strengthen their muscles. But officials at Sukho Thai say that they provide this service in India because people here lead a very stressful lifestyle and besides the feet, which are the nerve end of the body, stress immediately affects the shoulders and neck. Stress combined with lack of sufficient movement increases lactic acid levels and stretching is included in the massage to address and reduce it. I get the chop chop of her hands too and dose off for a bit.
While I surely feel relaxed, there's also a subtle sense of freshness and this is only enhanced by the fruit bowl—a piece each of watermelon, kiwi, banana, pineapple and mango!--and ginger tea served in the end. By now a slight smile began curving my lips.
The duration of the massage ranges from 30-75 minutes and its price from Rs.990-2970